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Roger Goodell wants NFL catch rule solved, fewer replay reviews

Updated January 31, 2018 - 9:43 pm

MINNEAPOLIS — Roger Goodell wants to see the mystery of the NFL’s catch rule solved, and he’s ensured that the process has begun.

The commissioner said at his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday that he personally sees that rule as the most obvious to address.

Asked about the scrutiny that NFL officiating came under this season, Goodell said “on the catch/no catch rule, we need to find a rule we think will address that. We certainly need to get this rule right so everyone can appreciate.”

Goodell recently spent three hours with former players, including Pro Football Hall of Famers, going over 150 plays. He said there were many good ideas offered, but as for the specifics of what should be a catch, there was little consensus.

“There were a lot of people with different perspectives and lot of disagreement in the room,” he said.

So the competition committee will dive into not only this rule, but perhaps refining the rulebook.

“I would like to start back, subtracting from the (catch) rule and look at the rule fundamentally from the start. These rules are very complex.”

He added that there were more video replay interruptions in 2017 “and I think we can look at that. How do we make the game more attractive with less stoppages is one of the things we focus on.”

“How do we use replay to ensure correcting obvious mistakes but making sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game.”

Replay reviews

Goodell says the NFL will emphasize ways to cut down on longer replay reviews while focusing on the rule book as a way to improve officiating.

Goodell said that the focus on rules will include ways to refine the catch rule, which has been widely criticized.

The commissioner said the focus for reviews will be on “making sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game.”

XFL return

Goodell says he was aware of the announcement of the return of the rival XFL, but hadn’t had time to think much about what it means for the NFL.

Goodell said during his annual Super Bowl address Wednesday said league officials “want to make sure our game stays strong for the long term.” He said he would “have to see” if the NFL is asked to be involved, saying he didn’t know “enough specifics of that proposal.”

WWE boss Vince McMahon last week announced the return of the XFL in 2020, during the NFL’s offseason. The gimmicky original version lasted just the 2001 season.

NFL-Mexico City

Goodell says the NFL wants to build on its relationship with Mexico City after the league announced that Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams will play there in 2018. The Rams will be the host team.

Goodell was asked during his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday if other sites in Mexico, including Monterrey and Guadalajara, would be considered. He said it was something the league “may consider in the future” but for now was enjoying “such a good situation in Mexico City.”

The Raiders are set to play in London for their fourth international game in five years as they finish their stay in Oakland before the move to Las Vegas in 2020.

While Goodell acknowledged that the NFL has teams “in transition from temporary stadiums to long-term facilities,” he said the Raiders are “an attractive team globally.”

The Rams and Chargers have temporary homes in Los Angeles while a stadium that will house both is being built.

Kaepernick

Goodell has reiterated his stance that it’s not the NFL’s place to get involved in whether Colin Kaepernick gets a chance with another team.

Goodell said during his annual Super Bowl address Wednesday that teams “have to make their own decisions as far as who’s on their roster.”

Kaepernick, who sparked the protests involving the national anthem early in the 2016 season, wasn’t signed this past season following his release in San Francisco.

The comments from Goodell came a day after Philadelphia Eagles receiver Torrey Smith said Kaepernick not getting a chance with another team “kind of falls in the category of an injustice in itself.”

As it relates to roster decisions, Goodell said the NFL won’t “get involved in that in any way.”

Richardson investigation

The NFL has hired an independent investigator to look into claims of sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace against Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.

Goodell said during his annual Super Bowl address Wednesday that former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White will lead the investigation. White has led similar investigations in other fields, including a recent one at the University of Rochester.

Richardson stepped away from day-to-day operations after allegations surfaced and is seeking to sell the team. The NFL has said it didn’t pressure Richardson to sell based on the allegations.

Goodell said he wants the team to remain in Carolina.

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